Bailouts are stupid. Increased government spending is atrocious. Quantitative easing is the path to Modern Monetary Theory and should be anathema to conservatives. But the coronavirus is upon us. More importantly, the panic over the coronavirus is crippling nearly every aspect of daily life in America. Is the turmoil enough to make us put our fiscal conservatism on hold for a little while until the dust settles?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
BREAKING: Treasury Secretary says "We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately."
"Americans need cash now and the president wants to get cash now. And I mean in the next 2 weeks," he adds.
He doesn't say if it will be $1,000, but the door is clearly open.
— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) March 17, 2020
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Mnuchin said Tuesday at a briefing. “And I mean, now in the next two weeks.”
Members of Capitol Hill are already scrambling as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said today the White House is considering sending money directly to American adults very soon, possibly within two weeks. Senator Mitt Romney included sending $1,000 per adult in his list of ideas on how to fight the economic troubles caused by the coronavirus yesterday. Meanwhile, Democrats including Representative Ilhan Omar are already saying they’re introducing legislation that goes even higher than what the Senator proposed: $1,000 per adult AND $500 per child.
The earliest legislative mention I’ve seen for this proposal actually came from Representative Tulsi Gabbard. There may have been others earlier, but we haven’t found one yet.
Today, I introduced a resolution that provides for a universal basic payment to help Americans across the country weather the storm caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.https://t.co/wag9KimCND
— Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiPress) March 13, 2020
Former Democratic candidate for president Andrew Yang proposed $1,000 per month per adult as a Universal Basic Income (UBI). It was his main talking point and the policy proposal that separated him from the rest of the candidates. He drew a lot of support to his unlikely campaign, though it didn’t translate to enough votes in early caucuses and primaries to make his campaign viable. He dropped out and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. Yesterday, he Tweeted what he thought of Romney’s proposal.
Mitt understands this crisis’ potential impact on the economy and what is at stake.
— Andrew Yang? (@AndrewYang) March 16, 2020
Let’s be clear. There are nothing but bad ideas right now. Fiscal conservatives will ask, “How are we going to pay for it?” The answer from millions of Americans who are struggling to put food on the table as a result of the paralysis the nation is experiencing will be, “I don’t care.” Doing nothing is out of the question. Upgrading welfare or installing an application process would move too slowly. Food stamps won’t pay the rent or utilities.
Sending out a check to every adult is a bad idea, but it seems to be the best bad idea available. Millions of hardworking Americans are in terrible shape and it’s only going to get worse in the coming weeks. Let’s bite the bullet and get the checks out now.